5 Tips for Packing Up Your Classroom

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

School's almost out, you're tired - wiped out.  You are so close to summer vacay but have to be 'checked out'.  Maybe you have a checklist check out sheet like I do.  The dreaded running around and getting #allthesignatures before you can 'go home for summer.'

Maybe you are changing grade levels ( which involves more than just packing up obviously ), maybe your school is used for summer school or they just have you take everything down so they can clean more effectively.  Whatever the case is, I have some tips to help a sista or brotha out.

If you haven't done so yet....label #allthethings.  A label maker would make it even better but if you don't have one - either print out some cute labels or write your own.  Everything will feel better in August if things are labeled properly and in the right place!!  Your future self will love you -  - - trust me on this one!

Take photos of your classroom!!!  Sometimes you forget just how you had your room set up the year before and you loved it.  The custodians come in and move everything and it's hard to get it just the way you like it.  If you have pictures on your phone you'll be all set to complete your set up just how you want it.

packing up your classroom

Recruit help from your students.  You know they LOVE to help you and are always asking what they can do for you.  This is the perfect time to enlist their help.  If you are having a read a thon day or movie day, ask a couple kids to help you pack boxes while they are watching the movie.  Win - win, they want to help and you have extra sets of hands on deck.  Not only can they help you pack up but they can tape down edges of bulletin board paper.  Do you have to cover your cubbies or bookshelves up?  We do so cleaning liquid doesn't spray up and ruin our stuff.  Your students can easily tape down corners for this job.  

tips for packing up your classroom

PURGE!!!!  You know the adage, if you haven't worn it in a year get rid of it?!?  It works the same when you are organizing....if you haven't used it and haven't thought of it, you probably won't miss it.  I know, we all come across things we 'forgot' to use this year and are so happy when we come across it, but if you haven't used it in a year or two or three, it's time to toss it.  Don't be afraid and don't feel bad about it either.

tips for packing up your classroom

Label a box - AUGUST - and put all the things you will need in August.  If you can't get your cabinet keys right away and aren't able to get to your stapler - put it in this August box and leave it out of your cabinet on a counter taped up.  Your bulletin board letters for your August board, stapler, scissors, tape, and even passwords that you have written down somewhere right!?!?  Maybe I'm just old but I have a #secretplace that I have my passwords put on a spread sheet in case I forget which #happensalot  - anywho if you are able to reconnect your computer and can't remember your password from the long summer break you could be in trouble. Another idea is cleaning supplies, I know this sounds silly but maybe the cleaning crew couldn't get to your cubbies, etc. This August box will save you!

tips for packing up your classroom

If you have to change rooms, pack up for whatever reason I hope you find these tips helpful!  Remember you can find me every Wednesday ( during the school year ) here for new ideas and tips.

Happy teaching,


Morning Songs for the Classroom

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I'm no singer let's get that out of the way right now.  My mother had the most beautiful voice and I was the athlete.  But ~ ~ ~ I don't mind singing in front of 8 year olds because well...they love you anyway.  So, I do start each morning off with a song and it's been a wonderful addition to my day.

I started this tradition last year and it has proved to get the day starting off right.  It only takes 2 - 3 minutes tops so it's quick and fun.  I try really hard to pick songs that have a message if possible - but I also choose patriotic songs that I think they should now. 

Waayyy back in the day when I grew up - 70's/80's kid.  We sang patriotic songs in the mornings and at our Friday Flag salute.  I knew them all, my team teacher and I noticed that kids nowadays aren't familiar with patriotic songs anymore so it's important to me to teach them some as well.  I wanted to include a list of great songs to use in the classroom whether you choose to start the day with them or even end the day with them.  Like I said we start the day with a song and then go right into our flag salute.

Here's a list by topic...just hop onto You Tube and search the titles. ** TIP ** I always type the song title and lyrics after it. I usually preview first just to be sure and usually the kids like the versions that have the words so they can sing along....and YES they sing along.  Here's an organized grouping below for you to refer to: 

There are so many other ones but I hope this gives you a good starting point.  I hope you can use this idea and that you see the benefit it as much as I have over the years.  Please join me here each week for my weekly series:

As always:  Happy teaching my friends!


Managing New Students Mid Year

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
You know the feeling....you see the Attendance Clerk walking down the hall with a little piece of paper and the librarian following close behind with a stack of books.  You get this sinking feeling in your gut.  Not because you don't want the new student but because it's April 27th...WHY?!  There's just a few weeks left of school and who knows if this kid has been taught cursive and that's how you write everything on the board.  What has this new kid been taught or not been taught, there's not even enough time to fill in any missing gaps of what they haven't been taught... you're overwhelmed, you're teacher end of the year tired and you just want to finish the year strong of course but with as little bumps in the road as possible.  I get it, I hear ya.  As I see them coming I remind myself of this:

However, we are here to teach every child and with all my heart I believe each child has been put into my class for a reason.  So, I have a couple tips to make the mid or end of the year new student transition a bit easier for both of you.

Managing new students mid year

One of the best ideas I have come across I found on Pinterest way back in like 2011 or so.  I use this idea but have added a little twist to it that I want to share with you.
The idea is to fill a gallon size bag up with all the necessities you'll need for a new student:  laminated name tag ready to go, first day letter for the parents, Friday Folder insert, cubby tags, etc.
That way if you are given very short notice that you are getting a new student you are not running around searching for these things in your files, etc.  You are all ready and look super organized.          (  whether you are or not ).

If you have very little notice from the front office and the parents are basically walking down the hall at that very moment....you will look like a rockstar with a parent note ready to go and a name tag already on his/her desk.  But....you can also....

prep ahead of time sticky notes.  I like to use these as you see above.  I place one on the new students desk right away and say welcome or I'm glad you are here.  Then after snack or lunch depending on 2 things if I'm going to keep it real.  Snack if I think they need encouragement and seem sad/nervous or most likely lunch because I always seem to remember more at lunch than I do at snack.  Then I make sure to give them one at the end of the day that says - great first day!  Lastly, I always am sure to place one right on top of their graded work in their Friday folder for them and their parents to see.  I usually win the parents over quickly with these as they are nervous themselves for their child to adjust and this extra little step helps them feel like their child has a very loving, supportive teacher.  This goes a long way in building bridges between home and school and can  make all the difference.  Especially if something comes up and you need to talk to them about their child's behavior or academics.  You have already kinda earned their trust and respect with going above and beyond with the little things and you'd be surprised how often they are more receptive to hear what you have to say after you've helped their child have their best first week ever. =)

Hope you find this helpful...as always you can find me here every Wednesday for my weekly series:

xo ~ happy teaching,